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     Here's an assertion that will cause most observers (including myself) to rub their eyes in wonder.  According to the prestigious Global Insights Index, Thailand's Bangkok now receives more yearly visitors, more airline passenger arrivals, than London, and thus enjoys the title of "world's most popular city". 

     At first glance, I for one can't imagine how that can be.  For one thing, it means that Bangkok would have to have a hotel industry as large as London's.  And yet the airport figures show so many take offs and landings as to support the claim:  that the vastly increased number of persons traveling within Asia has now exceeded the same number moving about western Europe. 

     As runners-up to Bangkok (in popularity), you have the "big four":  London, Paris, Singapore and New York.  Each one receives more than 40,000,000 tourists a year. 

     And then, in 6th and 7th place, Toronto and Berlin.  Toronto does so well because of the relative prosperity of Canada's business hub, which missed much of the economic downturn in 2008.  The wealth of Canada supports immense business movements and tourism in and out of dynamic Toronto. 

     As for Berlin, it's an especial magnet for the young of the world, who find within it a tolerance for the counter-culture lifestyle that's more permissive than in virtually every other major city.  Berlin, also, is an inexpensive city; its hotels charge much less than in comparable world capitals, and its nightspots cater to the economic needs of the impecunious young.  With dozens of theaters, multiple museums and historic attractions, a vibrant shopping scene, Berlin is rapidly regaining its pre-war status as second in popularity only to London and Paris--and though it hasn't yet reached the number four position, it's on its way.

      Returning to Bangkok, the cheapness of its hotels and restaurants, its delectable street foods, its Buddhist shrines and temples, its newly-installed subway system that has reduced the traffic jams of yesteryear, its transportation facilities bringing you to beaches in the south, and to Chiang Mai in the north, and its newly-restored political stability (a reduction in the political protests that made many visitors apprehensive in former years), have all contributed to its massive increase in tourism.  If you haven't been there, you really should be planning a trip. 



Tags: bangkok, Popular Cities, toronto, berlin

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